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Comment Re:Awesome (Score 5, Insightful) 582

Although I think this is a stupid policy, I have a very simple answer.

There is an even simpler solution: a moderation system. It seems to work pretty well for Slashdot. Moderation also works well for sites like Stackoverflow. I have never understood why news sites don't implement something similar. That way the good 1% of anonymous speech is available, and the 99% that is garbage is not seen by most readers (but is still there if anyone wants to read at -1).

Comment Re: Sugar (Score 1) 926

You're mistakenly equating HFCS with fructose.

No I am not. Almost nobody eats pure fructose, so no one is claiming that it is a problem. They are claiming that HFCS is the problem, and they are claiming it is a problem because of the fructose.

The problem is that we consume so much fructose

This is just conjecture. There is no evidence that fructose or HFCS is actually a problem.

Comment Re:Sugar (Score 1) 926

The rise in diabetes, heart disease, and liver damage, are seeming to indicate that fructose consumption IS in fact reaching levels that are manifesting toxic effects in the form of those diseases.

Maybe. But there is surprisingly little evidence to support that hypothesis. I was unable to find a single controlled study, with either people or animals, that linked HFCS to obesity, if the HFCS was consumed instead of other sugar. If you search, you will find a LOT of conjecture, but almost no science. Furthermore, HFCS is an American thing. Most other countries don't consume much of it. Yet the obesity epidemic is a world-wide phenomenon. Mexico has a bigger obesity problem than America, but consumes far less fructose. Fructose may be part of the problem (or may not be), but it certainly isn't the only source of the problem.

Comment Re:Sugar (Score 1) 926

Well, maybe you should follow the links you cite.

What?!? This is what your first link says:
To the best of our knowledge there are still no GMO potatoes marketed for human consumption anywhere in the world

And this is what your second link says:
There are currently no transgenic potatoes marketed for human consumption.
And this information is clearly marked as "updated August 2013".

So both your links say the exact opposite of what you claim.

Comment Re:Incinerators (Score 2) 427

Most people around here do it by running their air conditioner in reverse, but a lot of people use gas, too.

Where do you live? Heat pumps work best where winters are mild. In America, that usually means south of the Mason-Dixon line or Ohio River. So if you are in Arkansas, a heat pump is fine. If you are in Wisconsin, you need a furnace. They also work better when they use a ground loop rather than the outside air as a heat source. A ground loop costs more to install, but is almost always worth it.

Comment Re:Incinerators (Score 1) 427

The Netherlands is 12 times as densely populated as the US and we have overcapacity in incinerators.

The Netherlands also has a very different political system. American democracy is far more responsive to whining and nimbyism. Even a single American citizen can use the legal system to throw a monkey wrench into any proposed project. Americans have an ability to impede progress in ways that Europeans can only dream of.

Comment Re:But what will the container ships do? (Score 2) 427

Cute, but what could we possibly make in the US that can compare to the prices you get when you don't bother with labor and environmental regulations?

Although, except for food, these don't take up much space on container ships, so many are empty on the return trip to China.
America is the world's second biggest exporter.

Comment Re:Perfect timing (Score 2, Insightful) 222

The shock value isn't the problem, the number of casualties and the proportion of civilian casualties is the problem.

Another problem is that the use of chemical weapons leads to tit-for-tat retaliation while providing no decisive advantage. Just like in WWI, they will add to the carnage while doing nothing to break the stalemate. Even Hitler understood this. Nazi Germany had large stockpiles of chemical weapons, but refrained from using them even during the last days before their unconditional surrender.

Comment Re:For once Bill Gates is right (Score 1) 174

Well lets look at it a different way. The internet is heavily controlled in China, so it doesn't help with democracy.

It hasn't helped yet. China's economy has grown by better than 10% annually for more than 30 years. That is better than any other country has ever accomplished. The government would not be voted out with a record like that. The test of democracy in China will come with the first big economic downturn. That will likely happen sometime in the next ten years.

Comment Re:First Things First (Score 1) 174

even if for self-serving interests, he's done a helluva lot more for the world with his filthy lucre than Steve Jobs ever bothered with

True, but BG did very little before he retired. Steve Jobs never got a chance to retire. He might have been judged differently if he had lived to 80 or 90. I have done well in life, but have given very little to charity. I plan to help someday, but for now I am just too busy, and too many charities seem to spend all their money on fundraising, or on activities with detrimental unintended consequences. In fact, the most effective charity that I can see is BG's foundation. Do they accept donations?

Comment Re:Not negative resistance (Score 5, Interesting) 123

Negative differential resistance just means that the current goes down when you increase voltage.

Interestingly, the entire electric grid is developing NDR, and that is a big problem for power companies. In the old days, if there was too much demand for electricity, or if transformers were overheating, the power company could reduce the voltage (a "brown-out") and the current would fall. But with more and more switching power supplies in electronics and fluorescent lights, that doesn't work as well anymore. The switching power supply in your computer and CFLs will compensate for reduced voltage by increasing the duration of the "on" phase of the switch, thus drawing additional current, the opposite of normal resistance.

Comment Re:Perfect timing (Score 3, Insightful) 222

Precisely - why would Assad sign off on chemical weapon usage

Just because the weapons where (allegedly) used, does not mean that Assad signed off on them. It is possible that the decision was made by an overly aggressive local commander, or even some individual soldiers about to be overrun.

that has already been declared a tripwire for foreign intervention by major countries?

Obama declared the use of gas to be a "red line", but has already backed away from that declaration. I don't think anyone any longer believes that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is any more of a "trip-wire" than the coup-that-is-not-a-coup in Egypt. It is unlikely that Europe is going to go in without American involvement, and America has decided that flexible ambiguity is more important than credibility.

Comment Re:For once Bill Gates is right (Score 1) 174

If food, sanitation, and health care are unavailable because of a lack of good government, what makes you think Internet access would be any different?

Reality. There is plenty of data available. Food aid is negatively correlated with future hunger and poor economic growth. It depresses local food prices, discourages investment in agriculture, and strengthens the authority of centralized and corrupt governments. Internet and cellphone access is strongly correlated with economic progress and government reform.

Even health care aid often does less good that many realize. Vaccinations are very cost effective. Other health care aid, not so much. When charities build health clinics, the clinics need electricity and clean water. So wells are dug, and generators installed. The clean water and electricity is usually made available to the community as well. But on occasion the charities run out of money after installing the well and electricity. These communities experience almost the same improvement as communities with clinics. So it is not the (expensive) clinics that provide the bulk of the benefit, but the (relatively cheaper) infrastructure that they bring along with them.

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